Tom Aylward of Spirit Lake did not finish the 2011 Ironman Coeur d’Alene on Sunday, but felt proud that he gave it his all.
“I don’t feel bad. I did the best I could,” said Aylward, 62. “I was fine with what I did. It was tough. I can tell you, the Ironman is tough.”
Aylward has been the subject of a six-month Spokesman-Review series as he has trained for the endurance race, which includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run – a marathon.
In two years of training, Aylward lost more than 80 pounds, began eating healthful foods, and learned to swim, bike and run. He has completed numerous shorter triathlons and half-marathons. His new life of fitness helped lift him out of a depression that followed his wife’s death in May 2008.
On Sunday, Aylward finished the swim portion of the race in just under 1 hour and 40 minutes. He then completed the bike ride in 8 hours and 26 minutes.
He started out on the run, but felt too sore in his legs and shoulders to make it more than a few blocks.
“I’m stiff and sore,” Aylward said, “but mentally, I’m OK.”
Tuesday’s paper will feature the final installment in the series on Aylward – “A journey to wellness.”